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> Romanian vs AH Danube fleets in WW1
dragos03
Posted: September 17, 2006 01:39 am
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Who would win a decisive engagement between the Romanian and Austrian Danube fleets in WW1?

As we know, both fleets fought bravely in the war, although both failed to appear on decisive moments. The only direct engagement was the failed Romanian attempt to sink some of the enemy ships in a surprise torpedo attack at the start of the war.

Romanian/Russian fleet:
- 4 monitors
- 8 torpedo-boats
- 3 Russian gunboats
- total: 6x152 mm guns, 15x120 mm guns, 8x47 mm guns, 16 torpedo tubes

Austrian fleet:
- 8 monitors
- 8 vedettes
- total: 16x120 mm guns, 37x70 mm guns

I didn't include 120mm howitzers (almost useless in naval combat). I also didn't include various other ships (gunboats, armed vessels, patrol vessels).

Strenghts of the Romanian/Russian fleet:
- heavier guns
- crews were especially trained for a naval battle (Austrian crews were trained more for a ground-support role)
- the Romanian monitors had heavier armour
- the only side that had torpedoes

Strengts of the Austrian fleet:
- more experienced crews and commanders
- more light guns (useful only against the torpedo-boats)
- some of the Austrian monitors were more modern than the Romanian ones

In my opinion, the battle would be very balanced and the most likely outcome is a draw. Both the Romanian and Austrian monitors were well-armoured and received several hits during the war without taking significant damage. The monitors could probably take a lot of 120 mm hits without sinking. The Romanian fleet has a better chance of winning because of the few heavier guns (152mm) on the Russian gunboats and the option of a torpedo attack (which is highly unlikely to succeed, since the opposition has so many light guns to defend against it).

Thoughts?
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Maks_russian
Posted: November 03, 2006 07:36 am
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You forgotten about 15 gunboat(bolinders) with 1 - 152 мм gun and 2 with one 203 мм
also K - 15 c 2 - 152
also russian mobile coast artillery 4 - 229 12 -152 4 -107 мм :D
(from book I.I.Chernikov Russian river flotilla for 1000 years)
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dead-cat
Posted: November 09, 2006 06:14 am
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according to a book written by one of our (ex?) forum members in the 80ies, the Kogalniceanu class monitors had a draft of 1.6m, which put them at some disadvantage against the Bodrog class, as the latter , with a 1.2m draft could operate in more shallow waters, they were also about 1.6 knots faster, if the 13 knots speed for the Kogalniceanu class is true, as some websites claim 12 knots.

according to Paul Halpern's "Naval History of World War I" the Bodrog class had 44-50mm belt, 50-75mm turret and 19-25mm deck.

now quoting from our forummember's book the armor for the Kogalniceanu class would be:
"vertical" 75mm (belt?)
"horizontal" 75mm (deck?)
"turret shileds(?)" 75mm (turrets?)
which sort of explains the higher draft.

This post has been edited by dead-cat on November 09, 2006 06:14 am
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dragos03
Posted: November 09, 2006 06:35 am
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I don't think the superior speed would matter too much in the battle, but the lower draft was useful for avoiding difficult situations. If the armour ratings that you quoted for the Austrian monitors are true, the thin deck platings made them vulnerable to long distance shots.
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dead-cat
Posted: November 09, 2006 06:42 am
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one more thing. the A-H. monitors did come out during a "decesive" moment, i.e. the Flamanda crossing. you'll hardly get any more decesive action involving the Danume (and subsequently a chance to employ monitors).
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dragos03
Posted: November 09, 2006 06:50 am
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There was in my opinion another decisive moment when they failed to appear: during the last days of the Battle of Turtucaia. The Romanian fleet could have evacuated the garrison of the fortress, if the army would have decided to withdraw. Their absence also allowed the Romanian side to reinforce and supply the fortress unopposed.

The absence of the Austrian fleet at Turtucaia and of the Romanian fleet at Flamanda are the reasons why there was not a decisive action between the two. We know that the Romanian fleet wasn't asked to come to Flamanda, a mistake than can hardly be explained. I don't know why the AH fleet didn't attempt any actions in the area of the Turtucaia bridgehead. Maybe it was also a decision of a land commander. Or maybe the AH fleet considered the engagement too risky, given the advantages on the Romanian side (batteries, minefields, etc.).
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dead-cat
Posted: November 09, 2006 06:56 am
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QUOTE

I don't know why the AH fleet didn't attempt any actions in the area of the Turtucaia bridgehead

but they did. just take a look at the "Flaminda" manouver thread we had about 2 years ago.
QUOTE

The Romanian fleet could have evacuated the garrison of the fortress, if the army would have decided to withdraw. Their absence also allowed the Romanian side to reinforce and supply the fortress unopposed.

i'm a bit puzzled. whose absence? the A-H monitors? Tutrakan fell after all so their employment would change hardly much.
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dragos03
Posted: November 09, 2006 07:10 am
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Were the Austrian commanders sure from the start that Turtucaia would fall? Following the same logic, we could say that the Flamanda maneuver would have failed anyway, even with the intervention of the Romanian fleet.

And no, the Austrian monitors didn't have any influence on the Turtucaia battle.
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dead-cat
Posted: November 09, 2006 07:24 am
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Mackensen started to attack on setp 1st. and by sept. 6th the fortress had been taken. to reach Tutrakan the A.-H. riverine force would have to travel quite a distance from their base exposing themselves to hostile artillery even before reaching a site which was attacked by strong forces anyways.

the monitors where employed when there was a pressing need, i.e the potential danger of cutting off central powers troops in the Dobrudja, during the bespoken manouver, as the romanian army employed theirs in case of Tutrakan, which didn't change the outcome. however, the Flamanda crossing would have indeed been one helluva good reason to use the monitors as it was the last attempt to seize the offensive. the book from which i quoted earlier doesn't give a reason why Averescu failed to use the monitors but mentions a meeting with the king by Admiral Balescu, on the subject of destroying the A.H. monitors but nothing seems to have been done in that direction despite the insistence of a french attachee to "do at least something".

This post has been edited by dead-cat on November 09, 2006 07:25 am
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Iamandi
Posted: November 15, 2006 02:17 pm
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Maybe they tryed to maintain the ships "alive", like Delfinul was in ww2. For our honour, at least something was necessary.

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dead-cat
Posted: November 15, 2006 09:10 pm
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it might as well be that way, although monitors were not regarded so much as precious assets like dreadnoughts (and were much much much less expensive).
the british and austro-hungarian monitors saw extensive combat use during ww1 (unlike the elements of "naval prestige", dreadnoughts.

by re-reading through the book i quoted from during this thread i noticed something in reply to
QUOTE

- crews were especially trained for a naval battle (Austrian crews were trained more for a ground-support role)

the author disagrees specifically on this, claiming that austro-hungarian crews trained especially combat vs. enemy monitors through pre-war manouvers, as classical ship vs. ship combat was trainined in all major navies. he also states that the role, in which the monitors found themselves mostly (artillery support for the army and counterbattery fire) were neglected during pre-war training, at least on the austro-hungarian side.

QUOTE

Austrian fleet:
- 8 monitors
- 8 vedettes
- total: 16x120 mm guns, 37x70 mm guns

the kuk Donauflottillie started the war with 6 small armoured patrol boats with MGs only
during the war, 6 more were added, which all were larger.
the last 4 having 129 tons at 44m lenght, armed with 4 7cm guns and 4 MGs.
thus you get :

8 monitors
12 patrol boats
total 16x120mm
at least 32 70mm guns as i don't know how many guns the first 2 patrol boats constructed during the war had, having found no pictures of them.

according to "Connway's All The World Fighting Ships 1906-21" there is the "river patrol craft Barsch" with following specs:

displacement: 128.9-133t
lenght/width/draft: 44m/ 6m /1.0m
machinery: 2shaft curtiss AEG turbines @1100 shp making 18kts
armour: side 7.5mm, deck 6mm, CT and turrets 10mm
armament: 4x70mm L26 (2x2), 3MG
complement: 42
however there is no mention how many of that clas (Wels) have been launched, so i assume it is one of the 4 large boats i was perviously speaking about.

This post has been edited by dead-cat on November 15, 2006 10:26 pm
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dead-cat
Posted: November 16, 2006 03:12 pm
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hm. patrol boat a, b, c, d, e and g were struck off for various reasons before 1916.
those were probably the small MG only boats.
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Dénes
Posted: November 16, 2006 10:31 pm
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Here are the specs. for BARSCH from the post-WW 1 period:

BAJA (ex BARSCH) 1918 GANZ Danubius, Budapest

displacement 133 metric tons, length 44 m, width 6 m, draft 1 m,
two MAN boilers, two AEG steam turbines 1100 HP, speed 34 km/h,
complement 40 men. Disarmed in 1919. The planned rearming in 1940 did not happen, and the ship is not on any accesible list of Folyamörség’s ships. The diary IMRDD, where there is a list of all Hungarian ships, unfit for service, from February 22, 1945, is BAJA listed as „in reconstruction, without engines“.

Gen. Dénes
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